Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thank God Jack Kemp Was Never Elected President

This depiction of progressive evolution does not include the ancestors of Jack Kemp

Have you ever wondered what happens to one of the many people who run in their party's Presidential Primaries and then lose miserably? Some fade into obscurity, some become political pundits like Jack Kemp. After reading his most recent commentary, I wish he would have chosen to fade into obscurity.

Jack Kemp wants to reassure conservatives that despite recent victories for those of us who want science to be taught in science classes in public schools, that the anti-evolution movement is far from defeated. Kemp provides the following examples to support his case (if you think I'm kidding, please see his original post):
  • Voter turnout in the Kansas election where Pro-intelligent design board members were ousted from their posts was only 18 percent.
  • Ann Coulter's most recent attempt to write in complete sentences "Godless: The Church of Liberalism" is selling like hotcakes. And as Kemp points out, she spends a good part of the book explaining how evolution is directly at odds with religion.
  • Only 10 percent of the general public, as cited in an anonymous Gallup Poll, believe in evolution as currently taught in public schools.
Boy, Jack Kemp has some great points there. Let me take them on one at a time:
  • Unfortunately for Kemp, a lack of voter turnout does not invalidate election results. The fact that not a single member of the Kansas State School Board that voted to restrict the teaching of evolution in schools held their seat lets you know how the people who matter (those who chose to vote) feel about conservatives trying to insert pseudoscience into their science curriculum.
  • Ann Coulter is nothing more than a bitch, trying to get a rise out of people. She has no credibility, and everything she says should be carefully fact-checked, since she obviously chooses not to fact-check a single thing she says. Want examples ? Just because a book sells a lot of copies does not make anything within it true. Example? Any of the Harry Potter books.
  • Finally, this anonymous Gallup Poll on what people believe as far as evolution is concerned. This is a Jack Kemp fact flea flicker (he used to play football). If you look at a variety of polls completely recently on the topic of evolution and what people believe, nearly half of people believe in evolution. Where Kemp hides the ball on this one is that because schools have to follow that whole, annoying "seperation of church and state" thing, schools don't teach that God had any part in evolution, since whether he did or not is a theological question and not a scientific one. So, because a good number of people who believe in evolution believe that God had some part in it, Kemp is able to say that a very small percentage of people actually believe it as it is taught in schools. Nice sleight of hand eh? Oh, and even if you take those people who believe in evolution without God being part of it, it's still about twice as many (20%) as Kemp cites in his article in any poll in the past 2 years.
The main point is that whatever you believe about how the universe was created, anything having to do with God is not science, and therefore, should not be taught in science class. Intelligent people who have studied evolution will tell you that there is absolutely nothing about evolution that contradicts a healthy belief in God. If you're one of those literal interpreters of the Bible, you've got bigger and more fundamental problems than evolution, such as how to rectify the obvious contradiction between Thou Shalt Not Kill and most of the Old Testament.

Conservatives don't want to be painted as "dumb, rural fundamentalists" to quote Kemp's column. If you don't want to be portrayed that way, then pick up a science book and learn the difference between theology and biology. Kemp was almost your candidate for President in 1988, is this who you want to be your spokesperson on educational curriculum?


HCP said...

How about all those assholes that say it's just a theory. I love that arguement. I'm sorry Jethro that you haven't had anything close to a science "class" since figuring out that 1st cousin fucking makes for interesting children, but a theory is something based on facts.


ptg said...

Liberal cats tend to see evolution as accurately describing the origin of species. I'm no scientist, but am inclined to think they are correct.

But why do so many liberals go on to assert that these same forces of natural selection and environmental challenge/response must now come to a screeching halt? It would seem that they believe the pinnacle of evolution has been reached; no further changes are welcomed. To wit: all the howling the libs set up when it looks like some species or other is threatened with extinction. Evolution is driven by extinction. Even some conservatives are guilty of holding this "eon-centric" view.

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that these cats don't want any of the changes that have brought us to where we are now to continue. Look at how we fight erosion, and fret about climate changes. Change is the key to evolution.

Do these folks really think we and the way we live are the best evolution can do? Isn't this is an almost quasi-religious stance: God made us in his image, so why should it change?

Are we like the Amish, who would freeze all change and progress at some arbitrarily chosen time? Not a very progressive notion, I'd say.

Ryan the Angry Midget said...

I would agree 100%. Science tells us that humanity is a blink of an eye in terms of the timeline of the planet earth. Humans will not exist indefinitely, and people who think otherwise have another thing coming. It would only take one mutated virus to wipe us all out in a few months, and there's not a single thing that can be done about that.

As far as liberals fighting climate change as being against that same "natural" progression, I disagree. We've alterred the natural course of things and are accelerating our extinction. Maybe some people believe that because we'll be extinct eventually, that we're merely prolonging the inevitable. But the reason global climate change is different than the natural progression of heating and cooling etc. is that it's completely within our control to alter the former. We can't control natural cycles, but we can alter our behavior to ensure those natural cycles can sustain us for however long we're supposed to be here.

It's been said before, but it would take so very little to alter the changes we've inflicted on the global climate, but inaction seems to be the watchword in the current administration.

HCP said...

I don't believe that I/liberals stated anywhere that we wanted evolution to completely stop. That statement is 180 degrees off the mark. I don't want evolution to stop, quite frankly I'm looking forward to when women have 3 tits, but I do believe that what Darwin put forth as evolution didn't involve humans drastically altering the landscapes where they live, and consequently, destroying vital habitat for a particular species, ie Steelhead Trout, Atlantic Salmon, etc, etc. How is this evolution? I certainly hope you don't think that simply because a human does them that it makes it a natural process in and of itself.

CowboyLaw said...

I tend to agree, in part, with PTG's comments. Extinction is indeed part of the cycle of nature. We're not the only dominant species whose rise to supremecy has caused the extinction of a number of other species. That being said, two things must be borne in mind. First, we're currently killing off species at an exponentially higher rate than in any other time in geologic history (except, of course, a few cataclysmic extinctions). I doubt this is a good thing, or bodes well for the health of the current ecology. Which is a bad thing because humans are well-adapted to the current ecology. Which brings me to my second point. I don't want to go all Star Trek 4 on you, but you never know when one of these species we're killing might come in handy. History is replete with examples of plants and animals who we have exploited to keep ourselves healthy (aspirin and digitalis come quickly to mind). If we continue to randomly kill off species, we're playing Russian roulette with our own health. Sooner or later, we're going to kill a really useful species.

I find conservatives tend to understand my logic on this issue better when I state everything in terms of our selfish self interest. Not everyone can appreciate the inherent value of biodiversity, but even people who have their names on their shirts can understand the problem we're faced with when we kill animals that could be exploited to save the lives of our children.